When I was choosing where I wanted to go to college, I remember telling myself that I did not want to go where everyone else from my high school was going. Not because I wanted to be different for the sake of being different, but because I wanted a fresh start. While I had made some lovely friends in high school who I was sad to leave, there were also some classmates who I knew I just did not want to be around anymore. I feared that if I went to the same college as everyone else, I would remain stuck in my high school days and wouldn’t have the chance to grow as my own person.
It turns out my decision payed off (in my opinion). In high school I was always shy and afraid to speak my mind to anyone who wasn’t one of my close friends. People always asked me why I was so quiet, and I never really knew what to tell them. I just was. However, it wasn’t long after arriving at Washington State University for my freshman year before I completely broke through that shell I had been living in for so long. Being away from these people I had known for so long, I was able to become more outgoing and display my true personality more openly instead of hiding it for fear of not being liked.
Three years later, as a now senior in college, I could not be happier with my choice to go to a different school. It wasn’t long after moving away from home for the first time that I realized a lot of my friendships I had in high school were actually quite toxic for me. There were people who I had been clinging onto, people who had been treating me poorly, and I didn’t deserve to have to experience that. Getting away and being able to evaluate those situations from afar allowed me to realize that I did deserve better, and the friendships I have developed while in college are much stronger and healthier for me than most of the ones from high school.
Leaving something behind that you have known for so long can be really scary. There can be a lot of uncertainty and anxiety about what new experiences in an unfamiliar setting will bring. While there are still people from high school who I miss dearly and wish I was able to see more often, I do believe that leaving everyone was the best decision I could have made for myself. I was able to become my own person and realize that I am worthy of being treated with kindness and respect, and that made all of the initial stress surrounding moving away totally worth it.